Swimcloud
Jake Shellenberger

Jake Shellenberger

Head Coach, Women's Swimming

Jake Shellenberger was hired as the department's first-ever head women's swimming coach on July 29, 2009. Since that time, Shellenberger has set about building the Lady Flames into a strong contender in the pool. Shellenberger has posted a 99-30 dual-meet record, leading the Lady Flames to two CCSA titles (2014, 2019) and six conference runner-up finishes (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) to date. He was instrumental in the design of the state-of-the-art Liberty Natatorium, which opened Dec. 1, 2017 and was dedicated on Jan. 26, 2018. The Liberty Natatorium seats 1,400 fans in a bowl configuration. It features a nine-lane, 50-meter pool with a movable bulkhead. A separate 17-foot diving well includes 1- and 3-meter springboards and a three-column tower. Among many other features, the natatorium is pre-wired for TV broadcasts. In 2017-18, Liberty finished second at the CCSA Championships, with a program-record 1,501.5 points. For the conference meet as a whole, the Lady Flames registered a program-record-tying 20 podium finishes, 16 NCAA B cuts, nine program records, two conference records, four meet records and nine event victories. Payton Keiner was named Most Outstanding Female Freshman of the CCSA Meet, and joined Alicia Finnigan at the 2018 NCAA Championships. Finnigan received the sport's highest academic honor, being named the NCA ELITE 90 Award recipient for having the highest GPA among any student athlete at the NCAA Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. Finnigan was later voted the CCSA Women's Swimming ot the Year. The 2016-17 season saw the Lady Flames earn their third straight conference runner-up finish. Alicia Finnigan and Prudence Rooker both recorded three podium finishes at the CCSA Championships. Freshman Brittany Weiss became the third Lady Flame to be named the Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet. Finnigan went on to break the CCSA record in the 200 fly before making her first career appearance in the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championships. In 2015-16, the Lady Flames earned their highest national rankings to date, listed 26th in the CollegeSwimming.com Team Rankings and No. 4 in the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major Rankings on Oct. 6. After defeating TCU, Liberty has defeated a team from each Power Five conference at least once. In just the fourth year in program history, Shellenberger coached the Lady Flames to the 2014 CCSA Championship title, holding off five-time defending champion Florida Gulf Coast, 732.5 to 718.5. During the 2014 conference meet, the Lady Flames recorded 18 podium finishes, nine B cuts, one A cut (200 medley relay), six CCSA records, six meet records and 16 program records. During the 2013-14 season, Liberty was ranked as highly as 13th in the College Swimming.com Mid-Major Ranking, while making it to 48th in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com National Rankings. Liberty placed 43rd at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving National Championships, making its third straight NCAA nationals appearance. Sophomore Jess Reinhardt became Liberty's highest-placing individual at nationals, finishing 10th in the 100 fly in a CCSA-record time of 51.72. Shellenberger has earned two CCSA Swimming Coach of the Year honors, including 2012 (conference runner-up finish) and 2014 (conference championship). Liberty posted its second runner-up finish in a row, taking second place at the 2013 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships. The Lady Flames earned their first national ranking in program history during the 2012-13 season, being ranked No. 37 in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top 25. During Liberty's second year as a program, the team earned its first All-America honor, as Brye Ravettine placed 13th in the 50 free at the 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships. Ravettine was also named 2012 CCSA Swimmer of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet. Ravettine was listed on the Mid-Major All-America list by CollegeSwimming.com during 2011 and 2012, while Cori Gary was named to the honorable mention team in 2012. In addition, the 2011-12 recruiting class received mention on CollegeSwimming.com. The Lady Flames have also competed on the national stage, including USA Swimming Nationals and Winter Nationals, in addition to the Olympic Trials. Ravettine placed 17th in the 50-meter free at the 2011 USA Swimming Winter National Championships, qualifying her for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Ravettine, Laura Day and Reinhardt all competed in Olympic Trials during 2012. Emilie Kaufman and Day qualified for finals in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2013 U.S. Open, with Kaufman taking 13th place overall. Finnigan tied for 10th in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2017 Phillips 66 Championships while finishing 10th in the 200 fly at the 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals. Prior to joining the Liberty staff, Shellenberger served as an assistant coach on Penn State's men's and women's swimming and diving coaching staff. During his three-year stint with the Nittany Lions, Shellenberger worked primarily with Penn State's male and female sprinters. While at Penn State, Shellenberger instructed 15 NCAA qualifiers, 13 school record holders, eight NCAA All-America honorable-mention performers, two Olympic Trials finalists, two NCAA All-Americans and the Nittany Lions' first-ever individual national champion (Pat Schirk/2008 national champion in the men's 200 backstroke). Besides writing and directing Penn State's dryland and yearly plyometric and strength programs, Shellenberger focused on the Nittany Lions' recruiting efforts. His first recruiting class at Penn State was ranked No. 21 nationally by CollegeSwimming.com, while his second was listed at No. 15. During the summer of 2007, Shellenberger served as a volunteer assistant coach at Arizona, where he worked under Arizona head coach and USA Olympic coach Frank Busch and Rick DeMont, the Wildcats' world-renowned sprint coach. Prior to his days at Penn State and Arizona, Shellenberger got his collegiate coaching start as the head women's swimming coach at Millersville University in 2006. He also gained valuable coaching experience as an assistant coach under Pete Clark at the Trident Swim Club in Lancaster, Pa., and as an assistant coach under Donnie Miller at Chambersburg Area Senior High School. Shellenberger graduated from Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Arts in history in December 2005, while receiving a minor in coaching. He was a four-year member of the Raiders' swimming program, captaining the team during the 2004-05 season. Shellenberger is a former Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a current member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, American Swimming Coaches Association, and the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. In 2016 he published a book on Power Tower training for swimming, selling more than 500 copies worldwide, to date. During the summer of 2012, Shellenberger married the former Lorin Milotta, and the couple resides on a farm in Forest, Va. with their son, Eli, and daughter, Clara. In 9 years of program history • Three-time CCSA Coach of the Year (2012, 2014, 2019) • 2 CCSA Conference titles (2014, 2019) • 6 CCSA Conference Runner-up finishes • 99–30 Dual Meet Record • 18 CCSA Individual Championships • 12 CCSA Relay Champions • 14 CCSA Conference Records (8 individual, 6 relay) • 12 CCSA Conference Meet Records (6 individual, 6 relay) • 5 NCAA Championship Appearances • 2 NCAA All-Americans • 1 NCAA Elite 90 Award Winner • 3 CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major All-Americans • 2 CCSA Women's Swimmers of the Year • 1 CCSA Women's Swimmer of the Meet • 4 CCSA Women's Freshmen of the Meet • 24 CCSA Swimmer/Diver of the Week Honors • 13 CSCAA Scholar All-America Team Awards • 21 CSCAA Scholar All-America Individual Awards • 1 CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-American • 1 CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-District Honor • 3 VaSID Academic All-State Mentions • 2 US Olympic Trials appearance (2012, 2016) • 5 USA Swimming National scoring performances (2012 Winter Nationals, 2013 US Open, 2017 Phillips 66 Nationals, 2018 Phillips 66 Nationals, 2018 Winter Nationals)
Heath Grishaw

Heath Grishaw

Head Coach, Men's Swimming

Jessica Barnes

Jessica Barnes

Associate Head Coach

Jessica Barnes joined the Liberty staff as an assistant swim coach, becoming the first assistant coach in Liberty history, as the 2010-11 women's swimming team will begin its inaugural season this fall. Barnes, who won two Big Ten team titles as an athlete for Penn State, came to Liberty from Rutgers, where she served as an assistant coach. During her time with the Scarlet Knights, she coordinated all aspects of recruiting and developed a training plan for the sprinters. Her 2010 recruiting class at Rutgers earned honorable mention status from collegeswimming.com. Prior to coaching at Rutgers, Barnes worked as an assistant high school swim coach for the State College Area School District in State College, Pa. While there, she designed and implemented a training program for sprinters, and coached the third-place finisher in the 50-freestyle event at the 2009 PIAA State Championship meet. As a competitive swimmer, Barnes was a two-time honorable mention All-American in the 800 freestyle relay, was a two-time NCAA Academic All-American and a three-time Big Ten Academic all-conference member. She was also a Big Ten second team selection for the 800 freestyle relay in 2006, and won the Nittany Lion Award for Most Improved in 2007. Barnes earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Penn State in 2007, where she was a seven-time Dean's List honoree.
Andrew Helmich

Andrew Helmich

Diving Coach

Andrew Helmich, a former SEC diver with SEC coaching experience, was hired as Liberty's head diving coach during July 2020. He will lead all facets of the Liberty diving program. Helmich spent three seasons (2016-19) as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, South Carolina. The Gamecocks' divers thrived under Helmich's instruction, as he coached three SEC champions and three NCAA Championship finalists. The Gamecocks also sent divers to the FINA Grand Prix semifinals and finals during Helmich's time as a coach. Over the same span, he served as head coach for the South Carolina Divers, leading the club to several National Championship appearances. The South Carolina Divers sent one diver to the National Finals, while one athlete earned an invitation to the CAMO Invitational, gaining international experience. His most recent coaching experience came within the last year, as he was the program manager for the 14 & older division with the Carolina Diving Academy in Huntersville, N.C. Prior to his return to Columbia, S.C., Helmich served as Marshall's head diving coach from 2014 through 2016. He coach 12 conference finalists and four Conference USA medalists, including one C-USA champion. While competing at South Carolina from 2010-14, Helmich appeared in the NCAA Zone Championships as both a junior and senior. A five-time SEC scorer, he was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2012. Helmich, hailing from North Augusta, S.C., graduated from South Carolina in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Helmich takes over a Liberty diving program that has sent three divers (Lauren Chennault, Abigail Egolf-Jensen and Olivia Robinson) to the NCAA Zone Championships each of the last two seasons. All three divers have earned CCSA podium finishes during their careers, highlighted by Chennault's one-meter conference title in 2020.
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Blake Dunson

Assistant Coach, Men's Swimming

Blake is in his first year as the Distance Coach for the Men’s Swimming and Diving program. He helped start the program in its first year as an athlete. Dunson’s goal for the program is to build a foundation that allows the program to contend for a national championship on a yearly basis. Coach Dunson is a Missionary Kid and grew up all over Brazil before coming to the US for high school. He is in the final year of his undergraduate degree from Liberty, majoring in Computer Science. Blake has been coaching swimming for the past four years in various capacities. Outside of Liberty, he works as a coach locally for the Boonsboro Blue Marlins summer league team, as well as working with the Lynchburg YMCA (LY) club team. He is excited to be with Liberty this year. Coach Dunson states, “Being able to return to Liberty’s pool deck as a coach after starting the program as an athlete is an incredible full-circle opportunity that I am very blessed to have. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”
Henry Barrera

Henry Barrera

Assistant Coach, Strength & Conditioning

Henry Barrera joined the Liberty men's basketball program as its Director of Performance in June 2015 and was promoted to his current position as Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports in July 2018. Barrera comes to Liberty from the state of Oregon, where he was a Performance Training Specialist at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton. While at Nike he was instrumental in designing training content for multiple projects including Jordan Brand's Terminal 23 in New York and The Hangar in Los Angeles. He continues to consultant with many training companies including Nike Basketball, the Jordan Brand, Nike N7, Shoot 360 and multiple others. As a basketball player, Barrera began his college career with Leon Rice at Yakima Valley Community College helping rebuild a dormant program and eventually becoming league co-champs in 1996-97. After two years at Yakima Valley Community College Henry moved onto Multnomah University where he had a stellar career, averaging close to 20.0 ppg and dishing out almost 8.0 apg. Barrera was rewarded for his hard work and dedication by being named a three-time All-American and was ultimately honored with the 1999-2000 NCCAA Pete Maravich National Player of the Year award. After receiving his bachelor's degree, Barrera played one season of professional basketball in Sweden before beginning his coaching and performance training career 14 years ago. Along the way, Barrera made a stop at Concordia University, serving as the men's basketball strength and conditioning coach for four years, where he received a Master's degree. In addition, Barrera has spent the last decade serving in multiple capacities at the high school level, including the last seven years at West Linn High School where he helped build the Lions into one of the top programs in the country, winning three straight Oregon state championships. Barerra has built a strong reputation for his relentless pursuit to improve human performance, specifically for basketball players. His history as a player and integrated training philosophy allow him to impact the program in multiple ways. Barrera has owned and operated Hoop Diaries, a basketball and performance training company for the last seven years, training athletes world-wide with the mission of learning, sharing and growing. He makes his way to the Hill City along with his wife of 15 years, Melody, and four children - three daughters, Maya, Malia, and Moriah, and son, Marquez.
Clay Copeland

Clay Copeland

Director of Operations

Clay Copeland joined the Liberty Athletics Department as the men's Olympic sports director of operations. In his current position, Copeland works with the Liberty men's golf, soccer and tennis programs, as well as the women's swimming & diving team. In his current position, Copeland oversees all travel arrangements for his respective teams, organizing hotel, rental car and flight arrangements for in-season competition, recruiting trips and official visits. Along with handling purchase card reconciling for his coaches and staffs, Copeland also manages the planning and maintenance of each team's budget. On game days, he is responsible for coordinating pregame meals for his teams and serves as the point of contact for visiting teams upon their arrival. Copeland earned a bachelor's degree in sport management with a minor in coaching from Liberty in 2013 before receiving his Masters of Business Administration with the university in 2015. As an undergraduate, Copeland was a student manager with the Flames football program, assisting the director of football administration with a variety of tasks in regards to practice, team travel and game day activities. Copeland also served on Liberty's project crew, helping with construction and tear down for various on-campus events. Outside of his service at Liberty, Copeland also worked for the Lynchburg Hillcats, a minor league baseball affiliate, in 2013. Copeland's duties included selling individual and group tickets, gathering sponsorships and assisting with game day operations and in-game promotions. Copeland resides in Lynchburg, Va., with his wife Heather. The couple married in March 2016.
JC

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